Health record ‘opt out’ trial a success

My Health Record should be opt out, says the Guild

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has welcomed the success of the My Health Record trials which it says have confirmed the overwhelming benefits of the ‘opt out’ model involving automatic creation of patient records.

The formal evaluation of the trials, published today, has recommended that the Federal Government proceed to a national opt-out approach – a recommendation which the Guild says it fully supports.

The evaluation report says in part: “Taking all the data into consideration we can see no reason not to proceed with an opt-out approach in one national step rather than any progressive staged approach.”

The opt-out trials were conducted in the Northern Queensland PHN, and in the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN, with the final report on the trials completed in November last year. The opt-out trials included community pharmacists among the healthcare providers who took part.

When compared with two opt-in trials conducted in Ballarat and Perth, the opt-out trials achieved better outcomes in terms of participation, understanding and some aspects of use of the My Health Record system.

“The Guild has long supported an opt-out model for My Health Record as the clearest path to meaningful use of a national digital health record system,” said National President of the Pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis.

“Community pharmacy, as the most accessible community health care destination, has always been at the forefront of digital innovation and an opt-out model for the operation of My Health Record will enable community pharmacies to enhance their patient care.

“It will also foster better health professional collaboration between care settings and provide key clinical data at important points of care across a patient’s journey through the health care system.

“An opt-out model with also provide a greater opportunity to further realise community pharmacies’ digital health potential within the patient-centric care model,” Mr Tambassis said.

The Pharmacy Guild has been working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to explore ways to maximise the utilisation of community pharmacy as a vital component in the My Health Record system.

The My Health Record Participation Trials Evaluation Report is available on the website

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  1. amanda cronin

    I think it should be opt in. The reality is many people can assess your information and many are not scrupulous. I would hate that and many other would as well in a small town.
    It’s kind of creepy actually.

    • pagophilus

      Should be mandatory unless you want unsubsidised healthcare. If you want the government to pay, you need to give up some privacy.

      • Jarrod McMaugh

        Something we agree on Leo

      • Drugby

        Privacy is protected under My Health Record

      • amanda cronin

        Unfortunately I know in theory privacy is protected but in the real world it is often abused especially in small towns.
        There is also some terrible profiling of patients and they get marked as drug seekers or mentally unstable when they have genuine serious terminal illnesses overlooked. One lady can’t get a GP in town due to unwarranted and inappropriate profiling due to one GP misinterpreting things. I think patients deserve fresh unbiased eyes at times and to be heard without the roar of others opinions and predudices.

        • Jarrod McMaugh

          Amanda, I get your point, but I’m going to challenge it on two fronts

          1) the risks of profiling/stereotyping is increased by lack of relevant clinical history. In my opinion, having access to relevant records can impact positively on combatting these issues

          2) from my experience working in rural and now metro, the things you describe happen equally in both settings…. It’s more visible in rural. Something we should all work on

  2. Ron Batagol

    Opt-out won’t identify potentially hazardous drug interactions if the patient chooses to “leave out” of the opt-outs, treatment for conditions that they may not wish to have in their My Health Record eg. treatment for conditions that, if they can make the choice, they consider should be “opted out” of the My Health record.
    Metronidazole for an STI when used with Warfarin, and Ribavirin for Hep C and Warfarin treatment immediately come to mind.
    Clearly what is needed other than a compulsory system, which would never “fly” in this country, is opt out together with the authority,with appropriate security checks and balances, for health professionals, when medically required, to be able to access the complete medical records so that ALL medical and therapeutic issues can hopefully be found and disclosed, when required, for optimum ongoing patient care in specific situations.

  3. Karalyn Huxhagen

    having been part of the trial I have to say that the current system is too limited to be useful. Only one pharmacy software provider is linked. The other one that supposedly worked never did. If you do not work in a brick and mortar phcy eg Section 90 than you were not able to do anything with it except tie yourself in knots playing with dongle paperwork. I cannot upload patient medication plans for multiple Doctor access etc. And it is still painful to set up. every time you think you have all your ducks in a row for the various agencies a long comes another form and another painstaking few hours of putting in your details. Every time the PHN people come out they tell me that the GP practices are no where near as hard to set up as pharmacies. why are we so special? when will those of us such as accredited pharmacists, physios, speech pathologists be able to be constructive in using this? In Qld we have competing programs now with viewer project being rolled out and it is confusion plus.
    Every PHN meeting I am told of the wonder that we can all enjoy with MHR but so far all I have is frustration with not beng part of the team that can use it.

    • Jane Lewis

      Hospital dispensing is also missing from the records. Clearly we don’t have the right software to migrate this data to MHR. It seems that key people in the decision making process identified the ‘brick and mortar’ pharmacies you mentioned, but forgot about all the other pharmacy service providers.
      How do we get this changed? Who do we speak to?

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